by Bailey Angle–
The Virginia Tech Police Department strives to change the culture surrounding sexual assault.
Lt. Tony Haga stressed that enlightening the Virginia Tech community on what is considered a sexual assault is an important part of curbing the spread of the crime.
“Some people are the victim of something…they don’t even realize they’re the victims of a crime, because they’ve never been educated to know what that crime consists of.”
The basis of education propelled the creation of programs at the university to combat the epidemic of sexual assault. The Virginia Tech Police Department itself created the Rape Aggression Defense System (R.A.D.) program to instruct female students and staff self-defense strategies to avoid the crime.
Residence Life Resource Officer John Tarter, who has a daughter that attends Virginia Tech, praised awareness programs that work outside the police department for working to tutor the community.
“They have the Mentors in Violence Prevention that the Women’s Center puts on. We instruct that to the Corps of Cadets, fraternities, athletes…”
Haga credited the mass community crime alerts with keeping the Blacksburg population aware of how to avoid as well as to respond to sexual assault. The crime alerts, not specifically designated for sexual assault, are required by The Jeanne Cleary Act to be sent to the entire university.
“You can look at a lot of the pointers that we have on the base of our crime alerts which talks about being a companion to others. If you see a friend in need, take care of them.”